Archives For C and C++

Finding Book Bonus Content

December 20, 2011

For many of my books, bonus content is made available through the publisher. Sometimes this is material that was intended for the book but had to be cut, such as an appendix or a chapter, and sometimes the material is a true bonus, such as a video screencast. Because it’s not clear for everyone how to access this bonus material, I thought I’d quickly post instructions here.

  1. Head to (almost all of my books are published by Peachpit Press)
  2. Click on Account Sign In at the top of the page.
  3. If you don’t already have an account with, click the Create a new one… link to register.
  4. After you have registered, login.
  5. On your account page (after logging in), click Registered Products.
  6. On the Registered Products tab, click Register Another Product.
  7. Follow the instructions to register the book.
  8. Return to the Registered Products page.
  9. For the book in question, click the Access Bonus Content link. That will take you to a page with all the bonus content for a given book.

Besides being able to access bonus content, there are other benefits to registering at Peachpit’s site. And while you’re there, you can also check out my author page, which lists the books I’ve written for Peachpit, the articles I’ve published there, and the blog postings I’ve published there. Both the articles and blog postings are viewable without registration or logging in.

I hope that helps anyone having trouble finding the material they’re looking for.

Programming Video Courses

December 4, 2011

I’ve recently come across a couple of free, public programming courses, as a series of videos, that may be of interest to those of you out there (I haven’t had the time to view many of the individual episodes, but they look promising).

The first is an Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, from an instructor at MIT. It’s definitely for beginners and although it uses Python as its primary language, the goal is to convey the fundamentals and the theories involved. It probably gets a bit too high-end for some, but worth taking a gander at regardless.

The second series is programming literacy’s Core units. This series is much more broad and covers a range of languages and topics. As I write this, the first six units have been completed and are available as YouTube videos, with downloadable PDFs (and other formats) for the slides and notes. On the other hand, the last one was finished about 20 months ago, so there may never be more in the series. Still, it’s approachable and I like that the materials are available for viewing separately. And the price is right!

New C++ Standard

October 8, 2011

This summer, a new standard for the C++ language was approved by its governing body. Rather than explain the key changes here, I’d recommend you read this article, which covers the changes in excellent detail. As you’ll read, C++11, what the new standard is being called, contains lambda functions, makes better use of the Standard Template Library (STL), defines smart pointers, and provides other mechanisms for parallel processing and concurrent computing. Expect compilers to start supporting this new standard over the next couple of years.

C++ Development Tools

April 4, 2010

When I wrote my C++ Programming: Visual QuickStart Guide book back in 2005 (with co-auth0r Andreas Signer), I had to decide what software to recommend for C++ beginners. As with most languages, full-time experienced programmers may like serious, complete tools, or commercial products, but I often find that software on that level can provide too much of a learning curve for someone simultaneously trying to learn a programming language. What I like to recommend in my books is software that’s approachable, reliable, and, preferably, free. So, for the C++ book, I recommend Bloodshed’s Dev-C++ for Windows.

At that time, Dev-C++ was more or less a standard for beginners (and it was free). I used either version 4 or the beta of version 5 for the book and for years readers seemed to be fine with Dev-C++. Now it seems that either Dev-C++ is no more or just not a good enough option. The Dev-C++ Web site is down, although I don’t know yet if the site is down for good. You can still download Dev-++ from Sourceforge, but it’s the five-year old version.

In searching for good alternatives to Dev-C++ (I don’t use Windows regularly, so couldn’t make a recommend on that myself), I came across a post about why you shouldn’t use Dev-C++. That writer recommended Programmer’s Notepad, Code::Blocks (which also runs on Mac OS X and Linux), and the free edition of Microsoft’s Visual Studio.  I haven’t used any of these, so I can’t personally recommend them, although I have used the full version of Microsoft’s Visual Studio (years ago for C# programming in ASP.NET), and can attest to how good it is as an IDE. In the comments to that post, some readers still say that Dev-C++ is so much easier to learn with than the others, so I wouldn’t rule that out entirely.